The Great American Smokeout: Pop culture’s (bad) influence on smokers

It’s been almost fifty years since the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was released, confirming the statistical relationship of smoking to lung cancer and other serious diseases.

Since then, smoking among adults has been reduced by half — yet tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.

Images of movie stars, pop stars and even famous athletes with dangling cigarettes probably don’t help. But one thing that might? The 37th annual Great American Smokeout, which is taking place across the nation today. Created by the American Cancer Society, the goal is to inspire and encourage smokers to quit.

Here are some other ways that governments and businesses across the country are trying to curb smoking and its negative effects:

Smoking bans are popping up around the U.S., from workplaces, parks, beaches to bars. (Although when Atlantic City casinos in New Jersey banned smoking in their casinos, it lasted 12 days before they dropped it after seeing a 10 percent decline in revenue.)

Apps like the Zombie Smokeout for your mobile phone are designed to help smokers quit the habit.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation this week that would ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 21. Experts at Rutgers University schools are collaborating on an effort to help smokers quit smoking.

In the meantime, what are some other ways you think people should be prevented from smoking, or helped to quit?

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